Vice-Chancellor's Office

Updates and events both on and off campus

Best in the South West and Sports University of the Year

📥  Messages

Dear colleagues,

This weekend we can celebrate being named as Sports University of the Year for 2018 by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide and once again being the highest ranked university in our region. We retain 12th place nationally.

The new edition of the guide comments on our strong links with business and the excellent prospects for Bath graduates who continue to be some of the most sought after in the country, ranking 7th overall.  When it comes to average starting salaries, our graduates rank fourth highest in the country and top in the South West.

The guide describes our sports facilities as ‘among the best in Europe’ and how the performance of our student sports teams and our achievement in topping the subject rankings for Sports Science have all contributed to being recognised as Sports University of the Year. We have also topped the subject table for Architecture. The guide will include full details of subject tables when published on Sunday.

As we look forward to a busy arrivals weekend and the start of the new Academic Session, it is gratifying to be once again recognised for excellence at the national level. I would like to thank all the students and staff who have made this possible.

To continue on the sporting theme, I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you of two forthcoming events which all are invited to join.

Monday 25 September at 1 pm in the Sports Training Village
Bath Graduate, England and former Team Bath Netball player Stacey Francis will become the latest inductee into the Team Bath Hall of Fame for Sport.

Wednesday 18 October at Bath Rec, 6:30 pm kick-off
University of Bath Rugby Club will take on fierce rivals Loughborough University in the national BUCS Super Rugby competition.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell
President and Vice-Chancellor

 

 

Our global network: the view from New York

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📥  Celebrating successes, Internationalisation

Affirming our international influence through worldwide partnerships and extending our research power are two key strands of our 2016-2021 strategy.

These cannot be achieved solely from our campus here in Bath. A key part of my role as Vice-Chancellor involves working with our faculty and alumni team to forge new collaborations and seek fresh opportunities.

Last week in New York was an important chance to celebrate the close of our 50th anniversary with supporters and alumni who play a crucial role in supporting scholarships and funding our research. You can read more about this event here.

Whilst in the city, we had the chance to meet with the President of New York University (NYU), Professor Andrew Hamilton whom colleagues here may recall was formerly Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. NYU has a campus in London and operates globally and we had a good conversation about areas of potential inter-institutional co-operation.

Equally key were the meetings with influential academics, including the Dean of Science at New York University, Professor Michael D. Purugganan, who spent time with us last year as a Global Chair at the Milner Centre. Our Global Chairs visiting professorship scheme attracts distinguished, globally renowned scholars to engage in a programme of high-profile research activity at our University. This meeting was an invaluable opportunity to reflect on how we enhance this network and continue to foster close relationships with these academics even after their term with us is over.

Professor David Coley’s important research into developing better shelters for refugees was at the heart of our visit to the United States. We met with David Miliband who is now President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and engaged in fruitful conversations with his team about how to expand this work in refugee camps beyond Jordan. We also had an excellent meeting with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations in New York, Dr. Sima Sami Bahous. We were able to discuss the practical applications of David’s work helping to improve the living conditions of people living in extreme climates both for refugees and also for host communities in the Middle East.

Our schedule on this short trip allowed a meeting of the Foundation Board, our US charity, which made some important decisions about supporting sports scholarships for US students, further supporting the Global Chairs visiting professorship scheme and also creating a joint grant with Marshall Scholarships to attract the best and brightest minds to Bath.

For the next few weeks, my focus is closer to home, welcoming new and returning students back to campus. However, this trip will stay in my mind as a testament to the strength of our alumni network and the importance of looking further to forge new and fruitful partnerships across the globe.

 

Significant new investment for our Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS)

📥  Messages

Dear colleagues,

We have today received some fantastic news regarding the future of the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS).

I am delighted to confirm that the University has been awarded almost £29 million of capital funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) UK Research Partnership Investment Fund for the construction of IAAPS.

This award, together with £20m of our own capital funding and £10m from the Local Growth Fund administered by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership[1], will enable the construction of IAAPS to begin in the summer of 2018 and the facility to open in 2020.

IAAPS will be a global centre of excellence, delivering transformational research and innovation into advanced propulsion systems. Located at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, it will lead the development of future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles. It will both encourage economic investment in our region and help address the engineering skills shortage facing the UK automotive sector.

Global companies, including McLaren, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Hofer Powertrain, as well as more local businesses such as HiETA Technologies, have been key to the success of the IAAPS concept. The support of the Automotive Council and the Advanced Propulsion Centre, alongside the support of the University’s industrial partners will continue to play a key role in the project.

The success of this funding bid has been hard won. There are too many individuals who have contributed to more than 40 years of automotive research excellence to name each one in person. However, the leadership of Professor Gary Hawley (Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Design) and the expertise of colleagues at the Powertrain Vehicle Research Centre have been central to the progress of IAAPS to date. My sincere thanks also to colleagues in senior management and across professional services who have worked so hard in supporting the Faculty of Engineering & Design to get to this stage.

I truly believe that securing this funding is an historic achievement for the University. Now the hard work begins in earnest to make the inspiring vision for IAAPS a reality.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell
President and Vice-Chancellor

[1] Subject to the approval of the Full Business Case by the West of England Joint Committee

 

Our award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

📥  Messages

Dear colleagues,

I’m pleased to confirm that we have been awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). This is a remarkable achievement and something about which the whole University community can be rightly proud.

The Gold rating signifies that the teaching here at the University of Bath is of the highest quality found in the UK and that we deliver consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.

I know this news comes at a very busy time of year for our Faculty, with exams just over and a great deal of time and energy being invested in marking. Thank you all for your dedication; I’m delighted the talent and sheer hard work of our staff has been recognised in this way.

The Gold award comes with a summary from HEFCE which says our data indicate “that students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes” and “outstanding levels of satisfaction with teaching on my course, academic support, and assessment and feedback from a diverse body of students, notably exceeding the provider benchmarks”.

HEFCE goes on to highlight particular strengths including our strong employment orientation, an embedded culture which values students as co-creators of learning, physical and digital resources of the highest quality, consistent and frequent engagement of students with developments from the forefront of research, and an embedded strategy that facilitates, recognises and rewards excellent teaching. You can find the full summary at www.hefce.ac.uk.

These achievements belong to our whole workforce. My thanks to each and every one of you and to the team who pulled together our TEF submission so ably.

In the week negotiations to leave the EU begin, I know we are facing challenges ahead. The recent appalling terrorist attacks have sought to divide communities here in the UK. We are committed to delivering the best research and teaching in a truly inclusive, diverse and tolerant environment. I’m proud that our community continues to uphold these values as we strive for, and achieve, excellence in everything we do.

Best wishes,

VC signature clean

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President & Vice-Chancellor

 

VC message: New VP role for Dean of School of Management

📥  Messages

Dear colleague

At its meeting last week I informed the University Council that, in addition to continuing as the Dean of the School of Management, Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey will be taking on a new role as Vice President, reporting directly to me.

In this role, she will have responsibility for championing and enhancing the University’s engagement with large scale organisations and corporations, both private and public.

As Vice President,  Professor Hope-Hailey will focus on identifying and creating opportunities to deepen our existing relationships and develop new partnerships nationally and internationally.

Professor Hope-Hailey has commented on her new role as follows:

"In pursuing this agenda I will be working closely with colleagues in Academic Departments and Professional Services who are already productively engaged with the corporate world across many areas of University activity such as research collaboration and scholarship provision.

"The creation of this new role signals the crucial importance of this type of engagement to our wider University strategy."

Best wishes

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President and Vice-Chancellor

 

Let’s Talk: thanks for taking part

📥  Let's Talk

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Thank you to everyone who took part in our Let’s Talk meeting yesterday morning.

If you were unable to make it, you can now watch a recording of the meeting on the Let’s Talk webpage.

Please do take a minute to give us your views on the event if you attended or watched it online so we can develop and further improve our future meetings.

There were around 180 of us in the Arts Lecture Theatre for our tenth event, with another 270 watching online.

Dame Glynis, President and Vice-Chancellor, welcomed everyone before Professor Bernie Morley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost, gave an update on the latest developments as we implement our University Strategy.

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Professor Bernie Morley gives an update on how we are implementing two elements of our Strategy

Bernie focused on plans to boost PGT numbers and enhance the experience of Postgraduate Taught students. He also talked about the many ways we engage with our local community, rounding off with a screening of the new promotional video for the Festival on 6 May.

Questions on the presentation on our Postgraduate Taught strategy sparked discussions on how new Distance Learning courses would work in practice, fees and funding, study space and accommodation, with queries on general topics covering everything from working hours to promoting our research internationally.

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A question from the audience

If you sent your question in advance and there wasn’t time to ask it, you’ll receive a response to the email address you provided.

After the meeting colleagues stayed for refreshments in the foyer of The Edge and took the opportunity to network and talk to the Vice-Chancellor and other members of the senior management team.

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The VC chats with colleagues after the meeting

There was a stand in the foyer with more information about the 6 May Festival. With three zones to explore, we’re hoping many of our staff, students, neighbours and friends will join us to celebrate our 50th anniversary. You can follow all the latest news at go.bath.ac.uk/bathunifest and share the event with family and friends via the Facebook event page.

 

Supporting our international staff

📥  Internationalisation, Messages

Dear Colleagues,

In the Prime Minister’s speech tomorrow, we are likely to hear more about the UK Government’s approach to negotiations on the UK leaving the European Union.

I know that many of you are concerned about the impact of the EU referendum and the effect it might have on you personally, or on your colleagues at the University. At our Let’s Talk meeting at the end of November, we discussed the implications of the EU referendum for our people, our strategy and the wider sector.

Supporting all of you through this momentous change is really important, so to follow on from the immigration advice sessions we ran last year we have now agreed to provide further support to our EU employees from outside the UK, and to those joining us from outside the EU.

We will be paying the fee for European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) staff who are eligible to apply for a Registration Certificate or Permanent Residence Card.

Furthermore, to maintain and enhance our ability to attract international candidates from outside the EU we will be providing an enhanced relocation allowance to eligible candidates. There is still some policy detail to be finalised, but I expect further information to be available in the coming weeks.

We have also joined #WeAreInternational to play our part in ensuring our universities remain diverse, inclusive communities open to students and staff from across the world.

Further updates and advice can be found on our website or from your line manager and the HR department.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President & Vice-Chancellor

 

VC visits Computing Services

📥  Visits to departments

The Vice-Chancellor’s final visit of 2016 was hosted by Computing Services.

Accompanied by the Director, Andrew Lee, the visit started at the Help Desk in the Library, recently remodelled - with the help of our architecture students - to provide an up-to-date and welcoming space. Sherilyn Elmes, Service Manager, explained how the team dealt with an impressive 150 calls and online requests each day, assisting 2,000 people during induction alone.

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The VC with Andrew Lee, Director of Computing Services

Rob Hyde, Service Manager (AV), showed how the Audio Visual Unit helped students to access online learning, advising that 19% of campus-based lectures were now recorded, with significant expansion underway and further enhancements planned for the next academic year.

The visit continued in 4 East South, where approximately two thirds of Computing Services staff have been based since the building opened in the summer. Steven Chapman, High Performance Computer Manager, explained how his team works closely with researchers to understand their needs and assist with data analysis across disciplines. Mark Acres, IT Security Manager, showed Dame Glynis how information is safeguarded. There was also a demonstration of Skype for Business - a messaging, meetings and screen sharing platform which is being rolled out across the University.

Andrew Lee said: “The visit was a wonderful opportunity for the professional teams in Computing Services to demonstrate our significant achievements to date as well as showcase some of the new technologies we will introduce over the next year to help deliver the University’s strategy.”

Dame Glynis commented: "Computer systems are now fundamental to all that we do as staff and students of the University. I was impressed to see that Computing Services is focusing on ways to improve our experience and support our ambitions. Technology has advanced so much over the University’s first half century and it is reassuring to know that the Department is ready to support us as we embark on our next 50 years."

 

Christmas message from the VC

📥  Celebrating successes, Messages

As we approach the last few working days of 2016, I wanted to wish you well for the festive season.

It has been a particularly busy few months. Our 50th anniversary celebrations on 25 October were a real highlight and I’m grateful to everyone who made them such a success.

Casting our sights to 2017, our University of Bath Festival will be taking place on 6 May and I’m looking forward to welcoming the wider community on to campus to experience the best we have to offer in research, teaching, sport and the arts.

Next year will be an important one for our University and we will be forging ahead with the implementation of our Strategy, attracting more postgraduate students, increasing our research power, continuing to improve our infrastructure and forging stronger international partnerships.

In the meantime, I hope you have the opportunity to relax, enjoy your break and watch the Royal Institution’s 2016 Christmas Lectures which will be broadcast on BBC Four on 26, 27 and 28 December at 8pm.  It is an enormously prestigious lecture series with a rich heritage of scientific discovery and we are delighted that Professor Saiful Islam, from our Department of Chemistry, will present ‘Supercharged: Fuelling the Future’ this year.

My thanks to our entire community for all your hard work. I wish you and your families a very merry and peaceful Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Best wishes,

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell's signature

 

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

President & Vice-Chancellor

 

VC visits Sports Development & Recreation

📥  Visits to departments

On 2 November, just a week after the impressive rugby victory at The Rec which brought our 50th anniversary day celebrations to a fitting close, the Vice-Chancellor visited the Department of Sports Development & Recreation.

The Department has played a crucial role in building the University’s reputation as one of the leading centres in the UK for high performance sport, a reputation enhanced by the six Olympic and four Paralympic medals won in Rio by athletes based on campus.

Stephen Baddeley, Director of Sport, guided Dame Glynis on a tour which took in all aspect of the Department’s activity including Training & Development, Physiotherapy & Sports Science, Facilities Sales, Reception and Operations.  There was an opportunity to view the 50th Anniversary timeline on the Sports Training Village concourse, and to hear about the sports development project in Zambia and the campaign to improve our British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) ranking.

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Dame Glynis views the 50th Anniversary timeline on the Sports Training Village concourse

Rachel Smith, Athlete Support Officer, an Olympian and Bath graduate, introduced two student athletes - Jan Gosiewski, who balances a Mechanical Engineering PhD with international judo, and Nick Bell, who was identified as a top level rower in the British Rowing’s Talent ID programme.

Barry Edwards, Physiotherapist, and Luke Vella, Strength & Conditioning Coach, demonstrated their multidisciplinary focus on injury prevention with the help of rower Nick, using a combination of manipulation and exercises to improve his range of movement and address muscle imbalances.

The VC watches as rower Nick, using a combination of manipulation and exercises to address muscle imbalances

The VC watches as rower Nick Bell is put through his paces to address muscle imbalances

Catherine Evans, Facilities Sales Manager, explained how the Facility Sales Team balances the competing demands of students, high performance athletes and community activities before team members showed Dame Glynis the booking system in action.

Dame Glynis said: “What you do is tremendous. You provide our students with the opportunity to pursue sport at the highest level but also encourage those who wish to engage in sport for enjoyment or just to keep fit.

“11,160 students activated their Sport Passes in 2015/16 and this demonstrates the inclusive nature of your approach.  You are also key to our partnership with the City, providing an excellent range of facilities and services which benefit the local community.”